Meditation (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_3th_SEPT)

Many of the symptoms of depression have to do with the dwelling on the past. Guilt, regret and loss are often the primary feelings you may have when you are depressed. On the other hand, anxiety and worry about the future may play a part, too. While medications help, they may not entirely get rid of all these symptoms.

Blue-Colored Glasses

People are creatures of habit. You may have learned certain ways of thinking and believing, mostly from your childhood. While some people wear “rose-colored glasses”, seeing life from a positive perspective, others have “blue-colored glasses”, seeing only the negative side. In other words, everything you experience is filtered through your own perceptions. One of these misconceptions is the idea that the past equals the future. People who struggle with depression often become hopeless because they don’t see that anything they do can make a difference in their lives. But if you change your perspective just a little bit, you can see that this is not true.

A Word About False Feelings

Feelings are just that, feelings. They do not necessarily have any bearing on the reality of the situation. Feelings are not facts! It is important to understand that when you are depressed that you may not be seeing things accurately. Having said this, do not beat yourself up for thinking the way you do. You may have an underlying chemical imbalance that needs to be treated. Trying to think positively at this point may not be possible. But if you can acknowledge that your feelings are lying to you then you leave a space for hope to grow for the future.

Meditation for Living in the Now

As I have said before, when you are depressed you may be spending your time ruminating obsessively about the past and/or the future. It is important to break this cycle because it keeps you spinning lower and lower into the black hole of depression and anxiety. This simple exercise may help. It is not a miracle cure but a tool to be used in conjunction with medication and therapy (or whatever your treatment plan is.)

  1. Go to a private place and either sit or lie down, whichever is more comfortable. Do not worry if you fall asleep (this is a good meditation to use before bed, too).
  2. Take a few abdominal deep breaths, then settle in to a normal breathing pattern.
  3. Put your attention on your breathing. Feel the sensation of your breath going in and out of your lungs. Spend a little time on this until you start to feel relaxed.
  4. Now bring your attention outwards. What is the room temperature, is it hot, cold, or comfortable? Focus all your attention on this sensation.
  5. Then move your awareness further outwards. Notice how quiet and peaceful it is in the room. Let that peace move into your body with every breath.
  6. Continue to notice other things in your environment, such as the softness of your bedding or the comfort of your chair.
  7. After immersing yourself in these sensations for a few minutes, you may realize that you are no longer thinking about the past or the future, instead you are fully present in the now.
  8. Repeat this phrase silently to yourself, “There is nothing to be upset about in this moment, in the now. As I pay attention to my breath and my environment, I see that there is nothing I need to think about right now. I let my worries go, now, if only for this moment.”
  9. Spend as much time as you need in this meditation. Remember this is a process to enjoy, rather than a task to be mastered.

Using this technique a few times a day is like giving your mind a break from negative thoughts and feelings. But this is not meant to replace professional help. If you are feeling suicidal seek immediate professional help.